"It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are." -e.e.cummings
The Courageous Girls Club (CGC) targets mothers and their Courageous Girls (K-8), and offers interactive activities that POWER UP! and help break down important issues that 21st century girls face today, volunteer opportunities that DESIGN Change, and outdoor explorations through CALL TO adventure.
You can start your own Courageous Girls Club together with other mothers and daughters, access all the information you need from our website, and create a close-knit and pro-active community who MEET REGULARLY AND gain knowledge and inspiration from one another to live out their own courageous stories in their lives.
And what does it really mean?
As we all know, we live in extraordinary times where the pressure to be a certain way has reached new heights. From the way we are supposed to look, to the way we are supposed to act, there is an invisible script to follow. Throw on top of this our modern skulls that house stone-age minds, plus our habits and attitudes that have developed over the years, and it's not hard to find a human steering along life subconsciously or on auto-pilot.
With this trifecta in mind, e.e. cumming's quote,
"it takes courage to grow up and become who you really are"
could not be more appropriate in the 21st century.
So why courage?
Because courage is what let's us look fear in the eye and still choose to act, even when it means exploring difficult emotions inside of us such as guilt, shame, and regret; and courage is also the one that let's us apologize, speak up and carve out our own path in life.
Maya Angelou so wisely said:
"Courage is the most important of all the virtues, because without courage you can't practice any other virtue consistently. You can practice any virtue erratically, but nothing consistently without courage."
And if virtue sounds too old-fashioned, change it to values. If my value is not to be the most popular or the best dressed, but rather to be a good friend and stand up for myself, the stories I start writing with my life are very different.
A big part of the Courageous Girls Club is to bring to light these invisible forces around us and within us that are trying to influence us in certain ways, and bring awareness to the choices we have, help build up a skill-set that help us get there, and create a vision for the authentic stories we want to tell from our hearts.
OUR VISION FOR A COURAGEOUS GIRL:
1. Explores who she is - Learns to listen to her own heart, to get to know herself and her thoughts, feelings, strengths, weaknesses, dreams, fears, and aspirations. She learns to tune out societal and peer pressures, and figure out what her own unique voice is.
2. Feels her power to stand up for herself and represent herself and her thoughts and ideas to the world - she is armed with knowledge of the world and understands friendship/bullying dynamics, the complex messages girls receive from all forms of media, and through social and emotional skills learns how to transform stress, resolve conflicts, and fight against cultural norms she does not believe in.
3. Has the heart/courage to stand up for others, as a helper, friend, and as a change-maker.
THE POSITIVE EFFECT OF MOMS
Our Super Protectors
We all know the immense power of the mother-daughter relationship and its effects on the daughter's health, self-esteem, and relationships, among other things. For the most part, this relationship is fairly easy to sustain while young. However, how many of us have heard, especially if we have more than one daughter - "Wait till they are teenagers! You'll have your hands full then!"
The shift in the relationship to more independence is a natural course of life... but if you build the right foundation from an early age on, you can stay active in their lives in very important ways.
"Parent-child connectedness (PCC), a strong emotional bond between parent and child, is known in the public health world as a “SUPER PROTECTOR,” buffering adolescents from the many challenges and risks they face. Strong PCC protects against 33 negative adolescent outcomes such as unintended pregnancy; HIV and other sexually transmitted infections (STIs); violence; depression; eating disorders; alcohol, tobacco and drug use; and poor academic achievement." -Parent-Child Connectedness in Our Communities by Planned Parenthood
Creating a safe space and an openness for inquiry from an early age on where you can tackle important issues together and share life experiences in the process, making this a habit that transfers from one year to the next, from elementary through middle to high school.
Building connection with your daughter(s) through exploring the different issues, volunteer opportunities and adventures together, and removing the obstacles of not knowing what to teach them, or where to volunteer, while at the same time building in the motivation to seize adventures together.
Establishing a community of girls who share similar values of inquiry, who inspire each other and learn from each other's experience.
Belonging to a supportive community of women where she can get to know the other mothers and expand her network of women she can learn from and turn to for advice.
Continuing the conversations at home by building on the shared issues, discussions, and experiences from the Courageous Girls Club meetings.
Through sharing, learning, playing, building, modeling, exploring and volunteering together, your Courageous Girl(s) will benefit in immeasurable ways
- grow in connection, confidence, and compassion -
and surprisingly, you will, too.
LEARNING FROM EACH OTHER
I read a beautiful introduction to a book that described how a mother was dropping off her child at college for the first time, thousands of miles away from home, and 5 minutes before leaving her daughter turned to her and said - "Mom, can you please quickly teach me how to sew?" She did, of course, but then went on to say, that at that moment she thought to herself:
"What else haven't I taught her that I should have over the past 18 years?"
That question is the motivation behind the Courageous Girls Club, but looking ahead into the future... What should our 21st Century Courageous Girls learn and do now in order to grow up feeling connected, confident, and compassionate?
On a mission to empower my own 4 daughters, I've found some amazing organizations that help with different pieces of that puzzle... But most of them always happen to be somewhere else. Whether just a few states, or oceans away.
The list of what it means to be a Courageous Girl also keeps getting longer as more and more research comes pouring in. A Courageous Girl in this day of age needs to be much more life-savvy than perhaps my generation ever was. The importance of social and emotional intelligence - to understand and manage her emotions, set and achieve goals, be able to maintain positive relationships - as well as to know how to deal with a sometimes cruel world and stand up to bullying or peer-pressure; have the critical thinking skills that lets her evaluate the complex messages girls receive in the media; fight the culture of consumption and entitlement; figure out her own values and stay true to her authentic self. The longer the list got, the more overwhelmed I felt.
But... we still have years and years left. And these issues tackled every other week or once a month, really breaks it down and gives us time to enjoy getting to know the world with our Courageous Girls.
So I'm on a mission to learn and gather the knowledge from the different experts in the field, and break it down into interactive explorations of ourselves and our world, so that every mother has access to all the building blocks that it takes to prepare a Courageous Girl for life.
So if you happen to represent an organization that empowers girls, or if you work on:
body image issues,
social and emotional intelligence,
please share with us your expertise!!
Break it down into lesson plan(s) that mothers and their Courageous Girls can do together, and please send it to us.
Also, if you are a parent, teacher, therapist, with an awesome activity/lesson plan that Courageous Girls could benefit from, please send it to us as well!
FROM OUR BLOG...